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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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Rotarians enjoy Ansel Adams retrospective


U.S. National Archives
Art history lecturer Kay Payne showcased Ansel Adams’ work, including the above photo, “Glacier National Park” (1941), in her Dec. 12 presentation for the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

Los Altos resident Kay Payne, art history lecturer in charge of the Community Speakers’ Program for San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, presented a retrospective of famed photographer Ansel Adams’ work for members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos Dec. 12.

“I knew my destiny when I first visited Yosemite,” said Adams, who became the unofficial champion of America’s national parks.

According to Payne, in 1916, the 14-year-old Adams received his first Kodak Brownie Box Camera. From his perch atop a crumbling tree stump in Yosemite, he unexpectedly tumbled while snapping a shot of the forest upside down – a new way of looking at nature. Every year thereafter, he returned to Yosemite, eventually composing a visual diary of its wilderness.

With his early 1921 “Lodgepole Pines” shot, Adams felt “a photo should look like a watercolor,” Payne said. Later he sought clarity, so he used a standard K2 yellow filter on Half Dome, gleaming in the sun and partly obscured in shadow. In his 1927 “Monolith,” he progressed to a red filter and reduced the exposure by a factor of 14 to enhance the tonal values, thus intensifying its emotional impact.

Adams traveled 1,200 miles through New Mexico in 1927, taking black-and-white photos. Payne said he urged his students to keep accurate records of their photographs and evaluate their compositions with large cardboard frames before wasting film. At that time, his photos sold for approximately $10, the equivalent of $160 today, Payne noted. Today his prints sell for thousands of dollars.

The father of Peter Starr, Stanford University’s famed but fallen mountain climber, asked Adams to photograph the majesty and danger of the High Sierra’s Minarets, Payne said. Adams produced a series of half-tone photographs using continuous tones from white to black to emphasize his emotional response to the wilderness. The photographer gradually developed a “zone system,” she added, to control the tonal range of his prints: technical excellence with a strong emotional interpretation. He sought a predictable result typified by radiant light. His Cadillac’s license plate touted “Zone 5,” according to Payne.

Although Adams produced approximately 3,000 color images, he felt that working in color was “like playing an untuned piano,” Payne said, for he preferred the abstract element of working in black and white. Some of his finest works, such as “El Capitan,” were shot on Polaroid Land cameras of the 1940s.

From the 1920s until his death in 1984, Adams was respected as a fervent champion of the national parks, Payne said, adding that he preferred calling them “reserves” rather than “parks,” for he felt that everyone should touch “the living rock.” He would walk for days without seeing people, cooking over a campfire and recording his impressions of untouched nature.

Mount Ansel Adams near the southeast entry to Yosemite National Park awaited its name until 1985, the first anniversary of Adams’ death.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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